Since I stink at driving in this icy weather & I haven't blogged for a while, here's my melodramatic post to my children (in case I die tomorrow.)
There are so many things that I want you to know. The reality is that you will hopefully find these things out for yourself through life experience and that when I tell you this it will probably just go in one ear & out the other. But I'm telling you anyway...
#1. No one can make you unhappy. They can sure try, but you have choices. Choose to find the good in every situation and please be self-aware enough to know when it's time to say "Enough" and stand up for what you need. It's your life.
#2. The healthiest way to cure depression is to give. There is always someone out there who has it worse than you. Help them. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, a hospital, or wherever else you know that there is a need. You'll feel better. I promise.
#3. And when you get married... The best person to talk about your marital problems with? Your spouse. Venting is great (and necessary) but you need to go to the person that you have the issue with so that you can fix the problem. Ultimately, sharing all of your private life with your friends will mean that things will end up awkward for everyone involved. Not to mention, do you really want your spouse talking to their buddies about you?
#4. Don't protect those you love from the pain that will heal them. As a mom, I want to protect you from everything, but I know that I can't do that without cheating you in the long run. I don't want you to do that either. Even if it's me that the truth will hurt. No denial. No kid gloves. Just being real & facing whatever comes. Rip that band-aid off, please.
#5. Your life is more than a resume. You can use whatever words you like to describe yourself, but what speaks the loudest is your actions. People will forget a lot of things, but they don't forget the way that you make them feel. Strive to be a person that you would like to be around. Be the best you possible & own it when you fall short of the goal. That's what counts.
#6. Never criticize without working toward a solution. It's easy to point fingers and find fault. Be strong enough to be accepting & forgiving and ditch the negative. Save the criticism for the days that you can positively say, "I have a way to help things get better!"
#7. Find something that you're passionate about and surround yourself with it. You all have your own individual strengths and talents. Pursue your interests and your dreams. Whether that's drawing, or music, or writing, or taking care of animals... Whatever. Do what you love & love what you do.
#8. But... make time for things that are outside of your comfort zone. Your brain (and your body) need to be challenged. Try a new class that a friend is excited about or enter a competition that you're nervous about. Paint a wall a new color that you like but aren't sure about. It's okay to be silly, to make mistakes, and to learn on the fly.
#9. Never forget abuse nor tolerate it again, but do forgive. Holding a grudge is like taking poison and then waiting for the other person to die. So let go & let God. Forgiveness doesn't mean being a door mat. It can be as simple as praying for the other person and hoping that they'll choose a better path for themselves. Forgiveness is NOT having amnesia and enabling people. My wish for you is that you'll be strong enough to recognize when a relationship isn't healthy & that you'll have the courage and wisdom to do what needs to be done in whatever situation that you find yourself in.
#10. I've raised you with the thought in the back of my mind that I'm going to have to let you go someday. You are not my clone, not my only fulfillment, and I am not living vicariously through you. So, go out into the world and be YOURSELF knowing that I am proud of you, that I love you unconditionally, and that you are amazing just the way you are.